Ok So I’m 40. What’s Next?
By: Dr. Peggy Malone
Ok, So I’m 40.
Wow… even just typing that or saying it out loud seems strange. How did this happen? Wasn’t I 20 only five minutes ago?
Until the past couple of weeks, I didn’t really give turning 40 much thought but I must admit that I have been more than a little introspective this week when faced with the actual event.
Turning 40 has often been seen as a negative milestone in our culture obsessed with youth. It’s the top of the hill. It’s middle age. It’s the place where you potentially have more years behind you than ahead of you. It’s the time when many people go through a bit of a crisis.
So how do I feel about being 40?
I feel as though I need to take stock of where I’ve been and where I’m going.
When I was a kid and a teenager I was completely self-focused. I was more concerned with the fact that I had acne and a four-year crush on a cute boy than wondering about my life’s purpose.
In my 20s, I was in school or travelling. I was learning, partying, playing basketball, sleeping, socializing, exploring, experimenting and figuring out who I was. I felt like I had sooooo much time.
In my 30s, I got into a nice rhythm of work and life. I built my career and got comfortable with what I do in my job. I bought my first house. I met John and fell in love and settled down. In retrospect, I feel as though those 10 years were gone in a blink. It’s almost as if I coasted through them.
So now here I am at 40.
As I pass this milestone, I feel compelled to question my life’s journey and I feel like that’s a good thing.
When society says to you: “This is the middle”, all of a sudden time takes on more meaning. It doesn’t seem endless anymore.
You are smacked square in the face with the reality of your mortality.
So how do I feel about being 40?
In many ways, I feel the same… just more awake.
I feel grateful for being here as I know that many people don’t have the privilege of another year.
I feel like I’ve got a lot to accomplish and I feel like I need to get to work.
I feel like I care less about what people think and I feel more comfortable in my own skin.
I feel like I’m the healthiest that I have been in my life and I’m working on getting even healthier.
I feel like I know who my true friends are and I’m grateful for them.
I feel like I’ve got a pretty good handle on having my shit together and now it’s time for me to help others in a bigger way.
Since I have been thinking about this transition of life, I’ve been asking the women in my life this week about their experiences with turning 40.
Some resisted it, some welcomed it and some hardly noticed it but almost all of them told me that when they look back on it, it gave them a little push to take better care of themselves and to get more done.
How about you? If you are over 40, how did you handle the transition from your thirties? For those of you who are not yet 40, what are your thoughts as you approach it?
If there is one thing that I know for sure, I can’t control the revolution of the earth on its axis and its yearly journey around the sun.
I can however, control how I spend my minutes, hours and days while I’m here.
40 may be the ‘middle’ in terms of years but it’s really the beginning of everything that comes next.